Image of Dennis Wilkes, Art Director at Orange Grove

Art offers a creative outlet for those we serve while  improving and enhancing the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals with the aim of developing interpersonal skills, managing behavior, reducing stress, and increasing self-esteem and self-awareness.

Dennis Wilkes has been using art to communicate with children and adults with IDD for 44 years as the Art Director at Orange Grove. Grove’s own Renaissance man, he has clicked, developed, silk-screened, molded, cut, sawed, sanded, fired, painted, printed, framed and hung his way into the hearts, minds and imaginations of the individuals we serve through his innovative classes and projects. We believe strongly that ART is a vital component of the services and programs we offer because we want to support not just the lives of people with IDD, as measured by a pulse, but meaningful lives, as measured by those intangible things like satisfaction, joy, and a sense of well being. 

Art classes are offered to all children and adults at Orange Grove. All mediums are explored with clay being the foundational choice due to its wide range of applications in which the population we serve can engage. Clay is especially useful as both an artistic and therapeutic medium, offering unique tactile experiences and is accessible to artists of all skill levels. Art created by the individuals we serve is included in the offerings at the Hart Gallery and River Gallery at Bluff View. 

Image of Dennis Wilkes teaching art to a childImage of Dennis Wilkes and four of our individuals wearing handmade colorful masks
Image of an individual blowing bubblesImage of Dennis Wilkes teaching an individual

In addition to teaching art, Dennis' responsibilities include photographic documentation of all events, production of visual graphics as needed for display, preparation of photos and graphic images for PowerPoint presentations, the cutting of mattes and frames for display, design and production of screen printed event t-shirts, producing and maintaining center wide visual art motifs. For more information on our art department, contact Dennis Wilkes at